Islam in Japan (2)

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Written by Dr. Salih Mahdi al-Samarrai

Muhammad Ali was the envoy of Sultan `Abdul-Hamid to Japan in 1902 and documents said that he was planning to build a masjid in “Yokohama”.

“Puerto Pasha” was another envoy of Sultan `Abdul-Hamid to Japan to monitor the Russo-Japanese War (1904 – 1905). He stayed there for two years, met the emperor, and wrote a book of two parts in Turkish.

After the Russo-Japanese War, international news were published about Japan’s interest in Islam and the Muslim world, prompting Muslims everywhere to spread Islam in Japan.

Al `Aqqad stated that Egyptians officers were fascinated by the Japan’s victories over Russia, so they volunteered in the Japanese army and married Japanese women; some of them returned to Egypt, whereas others remained there.

The Indian preacher “Sirr Faraz Hussein” visited Japan in at the end of 1905 and the beginning of 1906, and lectured on Islam in “Nagasaki” and “Tokyo.”

The first masjid was built in “Osaka” for Russian Muslim prisoners of war after the war we mentioned in 1905.

News were published in the Muslim world that a conference is being held in Tokyo in 1906 in which the Japanese are comparing to choose the true religion. Thus news spread, so Muslims were excited everywhere to attend the conference. Mr. Ali Ahmed Al Jerjawy, a Shari`ah lawyer from Al Azhar, said that he went to attend the conference and wrote a book in 1907 called “the Japanese flight,” claimed that he and a Chinese preacher called “Chinese Solomon,” a Russian preacher called “Mukhlis Mahmud,” and an Indian preacher called “Hussein `Abdul-Mon`im,” established an Association in Tokyo for Islamic Call where twelve thousand embraced Islam.

After two or three years, “`Abdul-Rashid Ibrahim,” a Russian preacher visited Japan and refuted the claim. He also censured the claim of Al Jerjawy that the Indian preacher and thinker “Muhammad Barakatullah” lived in Japan for five years between 1909 – 1914. He also made an investigation about whether Jerjawy visited Japan or not? He could not get any physical evidence but the book that was written by Jerjawy.

Preacher `Abdul-Rashid Ibrahim who traveled to Japan in 1909 and stayed there for six months met Japan’s ministers as well as peasants. Elites of intellectuals, journalists, and young officers embraced Islam at his hand. He also visited China, Korea, India, and Hijaz, and wrote a book of thousand pages in Turkish; the writer of this article supervised its translation and review, and it will be released soon in sha’ Allah.

“`Abdul-Rashid” is a traveler, a preacher, and politician, and writer. About his book, “`Abdul-Wahhab `Azzam said: “It is more important than the book of Ibn Battutah,” as written by Dr. Muhammad Rajab Bayoumy in an article in Al Azhar Magazine.

“Muhammad Barakatullah” of “Bhopal” – India, visited Japan and was the first to teach Urdu at the University of Foreign Languages in Tokyo, and issued for a three-year magazine called “ISLAMIC FRATERNITY” between 1910 – 1912, and a number of Japanese embraced Islam at his hand. I could not get but only two issues of his magazine, and I am still searching for it because it shows the early efforts of Islam’s spread in Japan.

Of the officers whom Al `Aqqad mentioned was “Ahmad Fadly” who lived in Japan and married a Japanese woman in 1908. He met “`Abdul-Rashid Ibrahim,” and cooperated with him as he cooperated with “Barakatullah” for six months to issue the magazine then left him. “Fadly” wrote “the secret of Japan’s progress” book in 1911 in Arabic, translated “the Japanese Soul,” which showed the character of the Japanese, visited the University of “Waseda” in the company of “`Abdul-Rashid “, and translated his three-hours lecture on Islam at the university. “`Abdul-Rashid” mentioned that the University of “Waseda” included 1000 Chinese student among them were thirty-nine Muslims who issued an Islamic newspaper in Chinese entitled “Islamic awakening”, as they wrote the title in Arabic.

“Hasan Hatano,” who became Muslim at the hands of “Barakatullah,” issued a monthly photographed magazine in English and called it “ISLAMIC BROTHERHOOD,” and did not find any edition of the Magazine until now, in 1918. In 1911, he also issued the Journal of Islam in Japanese and English, but I did not find any edition of it.

The first Japanese performed Hajj was “`Umar Yama Oka” in 1909, who accompanied “`Abdul-Rashid Ibrahim” to the Holy Land and then to Istanbul.

The magazine of the Islamic world in French published a piece of news in 1911 about two Japanese lived in China and embraced Islam. The magazine revealed their intention to spread Islam in Japan after returning home.

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